Sure, the Orioles are for sale…for the right price

February 15, 2012 | Drew Forrester

I’m not sure how this silly “Orioles are quietly for sale” rumor started, but let’s quickly put the issue to rest.

The Orioles are ALWAYS for sale.  It’s not breaking news.  It’s not a recent development.

If you have $400 million right now, call the Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos and make him that offer for the team.  He’ll ask you to put that down in non-binding contract form and the negotiations will be underway quicker than you say “Casey Fossum”.

But for someone to suggest that Peter Angelos is “quietly” telling people the team is now for sale is just plain wrong.  The Orioles have been for sale ever since Major League Baseball moved to the Expos to Washington DC and then guaranteed Angelos a minimum of $360 million should he ever sell the franchise and negotiate a price for less than $360 million.  It was on that day that the Orioles were for sale because the minimum amount was effectively the starting bid.

It’s been “for sale” ever since, but it’s not a negotiable number, because Angelos owns the ultimate trump card…the knowledge that no matter how low the Orioles sink in the standings or on the attendance charts, he’s getting $360 million from SOMEONE if he sells the club.  I’ve heard for a while now that $400 million has been “floating around” as the asking price and that makes sense, given that Angelos paid $173 million for it and further taking into account the sale price of other MLB clubs over the last half dozen years or so.

If you have $400 million, it’s for sale. If you don’t have have $400 million, take a hike.

Do you have a house?

Is there a “For Sale” sign in your front yard right now?   No?

What if I walked up to your front door tonight and told you I’d give $250,000 more than you paid for it if I could buy it tomorrow morning.  Would your house suddenly be for sale?  Of course it would.

Your house is always for sale.  You just need someone to give you the money for it.

Your car is for sale.  So is that painting on your wall.  But those things being for sale and you getting a fair price for them are two different things.

I have an almost brand new set of Callaway X-20 irons sitting in my closet at home.  I don’t have a sign in front of my house saying “golf clubs for sale”.  But if you see them in my bag this spring and you like the look, make me an offer and we’ll talk.

The Orioles are for sale. But that’s nothing new.  And it’s not “breaking news”.

Always remember this:  Peter Angelos isn’t giving the team away and he’s not going to somehow be forced into making a bad business decision given that the club makes money and his other endeavor, MASN, has been reeling in hundreds of millions in revenue over the last 6 years.

Those are the facts.

My opinion is this:  No one in Baltimore is buying the Orioles for two reasons.  1) No one would buy the club WITHOUT the MASN network attached to it because everyone knows that’s the big money-maker.  Add in the fact that if you buy the team without the TV deal connected to the sale, you’re now a “business partner” with Peter Angelos — you own the team, he owns the TV network that has the rights to your games.  No one wants to be in business with him.  2) If you buy the club and MASN as a package, you’ll have to shell out somewhere around $750-$900 million for both.  And no one in town – no one – has a $750 million check laying around on the kitchen table ready to hand over to Peter Angelos.

But it’s all for sale…if you have the right amount of money.

 (NOTE: After publication of this, an industry source tells me the minimum sale price for the Orioles is now $360 million due to an agreement made by Major League Baseball that guaranteed an increase (from $335 million) based on revenue levels of the franchise following the Nationals move to Washington DC.  I have therefore changed the original post from a minimum of $335 million to $360 million).